Local author Emma Andrews on beating the bullies
PUBLISHED: 13:44 20 September 2012 | UPDATED: 22:13 20 February 2013
November is National Anti-Bullying Month. Sussex author Emma Andrews' new book based on her own experiences as a child with cerebral palsy aims to help children find ways of dealing with bullying
When she was born with cerebral palsy 43 years ago, the prognosis given to Emma Andrews parents was that they should put her into a specialist home, as it was unlikely that their young baby would ever be able to walk and talk and she would likely be incontinent too.
Supported by Emmas late grandmother, who thankfully was somewhat of a visionary as well as a nurse, Emmas parents disregarded what would be seen now as a rather draconian, dismissive, prognosis, opting instead for their young toddler to undergo intensive physiotherapy, speech therapy and operations to strengthen her tendons
Late for most children, Emma took her first steps when she was three, before undergoing surgery for her right leg aged 5, her cerebral palsy only affecting her right hand side. She started school late, aged six.
I vividly remember starting school, and due to the operation my entire right leg was encased in plaster which had a wooden heel built in especially to force me to make the heel to toe movement,
Nowadays much more emphasis is on pastoral care at schools although in Emmas case teachers were far less emphatic. Emma found her entire school life a dreadful experience. Aged 11 she was beaten up by a gang of girls so severely it went to court and she received 50 compensation.
To make matters worse, Emmas
mother had suffered a nervous breakdown when Emma was seven, and her parents got divorced.
I knew I had to shield a lot of my real school life from my mother and for a period of time, I was her care giver; I cooked all the meals, did all the housework, and took my young siblings to school, then hid at playtimes crying in the girls toilets avoiding the bullies and trying to make sense of things at home.
At 12, Emma was very introverted and looked forward to the rare occasions, her mother allowed her to see her father. When she was aged twelve he taught her strength as he had experienced a hard childhood too. He was profoundly deaf and was abandoned outside a pub as a baby.
Emma attributes the self belief she has mastered today to her father .
Now she has written a series of books, the first called Dillys Dogs Disguises which are based on her own experiences as a victim of bullying and aim to educate young children about the importance of being kind to one another.
FIND OUT MORE
You can find out more about Emmas book at her website: www.dillysdog.co.uk
You can find out more about Anti-Bullying Week at www.antibullyingweek.co.uk